cool air, warm heart.

Wait, Mel’s posting twice in a week? You can thank my girl Ashley, the U.S. Government, and Songza for the inspiration.

This is a story about Sunday Funday.

I’m not sure I’ve had one of these in a while. Sunday lately has turned into a day to 1) run errands, 2) work out, 3) clean, and – the newest addition – 4) read and write, thanks to my decision to engage in a third round of higher education (yes, by choice.) Basically, I have not had a completely stress-free day in a very, very long time. (Oh, you too? Not surprised. We’re bad at this.)

And then yesterday, I finally did it – I let myself have a real day off.  Three little adventures with one of my best friends to explore a part of the city we had not yet experienced. Truly a gift. It was honestly so transformational that I just have to share, mostly hoping that you, too, will find the rationale to let yourself have a Sunday Funday sometime soon.

Adventure 1: Bar Charley Brunch

In proper Sunday Funday form, our day started out with copious amounts of breakfast food long after noon. This new little gem of a restaurant, Bar Charley, opened up in my neighborhood just a few months ago. I’m a sucker for atmosphere as much as I care about the food and drink, and this place is the perfect blend of casual, vintage, and trendy. Ashley was trying to park near my apartment just so we could grab a quick coffee, and she ended up finding a spot right around the corner from Bar Charley. As we walked by on a mission for caffeine, we almost completely missed the restaurant’s sidewalk sign advertising a new brunch menu. I stopped and took a few steps back to look inside the restaurant. No wait, so we took a chance. 20 minutes later and we were well on our way to becoming members of the Clean Plate Club thanks to the best Eggs Florentine of our lives. And don’t even get me started on the homemade ketchup. Brilliant. Our mutual friend Lauren called from Texas just as we were sitting down for brunch. So, we put her on speaker and chatted with her for a good portion of our meal. Satisfaction of the belly and the heart in one stop. Totally worth it.

great falls 3

Adventure 2: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park

After our accidental brunch, Ashley and I ventured to the Great Falls area of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park. The drive alone was gorgeous, down a tree-lined parkway with the sun peeking through the colored leaves. Nerd alert: When we arrived at the park we had to take a moment to read up on the history of the place. We then chose a trail and set off along the towpath, venturing along the huge rock formations overlooking the Potomac River. We could not have asked for a more beautiful hike. The cliffs, the water, the leaves, and the expansive views were so incredible. It was hard to believe we were just 20 minutes northwest of the District.

IMG_5827Adventure 3: Old Angler’s Inn

As the sun set on the park and the wind kicked up a bit, we decided a warm beverage might be the perfect end to a banner day. Enter: Old Angler’s Inn and Beer Garden. Mulled with citrus, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a splash of bourbon, Angler’s Hot Cider was heaven in a mason jar. We sat outside on the heated patio under strings of lights chatting away as we sipped on our drinks. We went inside the Inn to explore before we left and were pleasantly surprised to find a crackling fireplace, dark wood chairs, cozy tables, and two sweet old men dressed in tweed jackets drinking wine as the jazz music softly played in the background. Honestly, the place was just idyllic.

Moral of the Story:

When people tell you to take a day to truly step away, do it. They are smart, and kind, and right. I am so, so bad at taking that advice, often bragging that I “don’t need” down time. Nonsense. My Sunday out and unplugged will go down in history as one of my favorite days ever.  “We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest…” and sometimes, we need to give ourselves a full day to do just that.

One thought on “cool air, warm heart.

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